In the High Court in Wellington yesterday, a jury delivered a $300,000 verdict of defamation against the authors of a book which contains material about former Wellington Treasury official and diplomat Lindsay Smallbone.
Lawfuel reports that the defamation case had been brought against high profile Auckland publisher Ian Wishart and his co-author of the book “The Hunt”.
The verdict, on a joint and several basis, was based on a $250,000 verdict for general damages and $50,000 aggravated damages. After a ten-day trial, the jury found that material published about Lindsay Smallbone that related to sexual matters and more was also published recklessly. The finding of reckless publication, says Lawfuel, is a major issue for any author or publisher.
The case, before Justice Joe Williams, will now involve the question of whether the book will be injuncted, which is almost certain, and the larger question of costs.
Peter McKnight, the former Izard Weston lawyer and one of the most experienced defamation lawyers in the country, handled the case for Mr Smallbone. The case is significant on a number of levels in terms of both journalistic issues and the question of quantum damages and costs.
August 5: Not just sex …